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Deadlifts for Legs or Back

Michael Petrella

Ontario, CAN

This question is probably more for those on split routines. If you are doing fullbody I don't think it would matter as much.

I am doing a split now as I have been doing fullbody for months and enjoy the change.

Im not sure If I should use deadlifts for back day or leg day.

I don't have a trap bar, just an olympic bar. I have been told trap bar is great for legs because your back stays upright.

I always felt deadlifts worked my low back the most, but I could feel it all through my hips, quads and hams as well.

Just wondering what others do, and if they use different stances, or pre-exhaust to hit different areas.


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I like to do deadlifts on my back/chest day. But on the other hand my routine is kinda designed to have some carry-over to other bodyparts... like

Day 1: chest/back (wit DL's) - arms, shoulders and legs get a little lighter workout.

Day 4: Legs

Day 7: arms/shoulders - chest and back do lighter work

Day 10: Legs

Even on a different routine I think I would put deadlifts with the back workout. I don't think it's that hard on the legs(unless you do SLDL), but it sure is hard on the back.

Just my two cents. :-)
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BF Bullpup

Massachusetts, USA

Do them on back days.
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Have you considered Sumo deadlifts? How about high rep dumbbell deadlifts done for a controlled cadence with no lockout ie 3/3....just some suggestions.
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Texas, USA

I like both ways and would rotate the DL in my split days:

1 - Chest/Back with Rack Deadlifts

2 - Legs, Abs

3 - Delts/Arms

4 - Chest/Back. No DLs

5 - Legs, Abs with SLDLs

6 - Delts/Arms
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Nate Dogg

Florida, USA

Leg days.

If done properly, they should target your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Sure, they are a great back exercise, but the focus should be on the posterior chain.
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Texas, USA

Nate Dogg wrote:
Leg days.

If done properly, they should target your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Sure, they are a great back exercise, but the focus should be on the posterior chain.

Waitaminute. The back is part of the posterior chain. The posterior chain runs from your neck/traps to your upper back to your lower back to your glutes to your hams and then to your calves (or visa versa). Hence the term 'chain'.

Therefore, either day is fine. Alternate as you see fit.

It's important to note that no matter how you slice your split(s), there is going to be crossover. There is no such thing as a perfect split.

Don't get me wrong. Crossover can be a good thing --- if managed properly. Chest/Back and Delts/Arms is a good example. On Chest and Back day, the Delts and Arms will receive minor to moderate stimulation. As long as compounds are used, the chest and back will get some attention of Delts/Arms day.

Even Push-Pull splits for the upper body have plenty of crossover.

If not managed, however, splits can overwork some muscles. Examples of Bad Splits (IMO):

Chest one day
Back another day
Delts another
Why: The delts are going to be hit all three days and may be overtrained.

Squat Day
Deadlift Day
Back Day
Why: Too much work and too much frequency for the lower back.

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